Are You an Editor or a College Essay Coach?

About a month before the first big college application deadline, I spent a good deal of time on the phone, sending emails and responding to parent requests to review drafts of college essays students had already written.
They wanted someone to look the essays over, edit them, send the students on their merry way.
That’s pretty typical this time of year. A lot of people ask if we edit essays.
We don’t.
Here’s why: we are not editors; we are essay coaches.
We carefully review our own students’ essays and provide lots of feedback, based on our expertise and process, plus conversations with admissions reps from all sorts of schools. As many of you may already know, our feedback always depends on what stage the essay is in: content, structure or polish.
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably reading stacks of essays right about now as students work on their regular applications (or add one more school, just in case.) But… Do you know which phase that essay is in?Do you know when to let go of content and move on to structure or polish?Do you know how to read a content draft without grabbing a red pen and revising sentences? As we move the Class of 2022 across the finish line, it’s a good time to consider what works with your process – and what can be improved. Are you an editor or a coach?
Are you putting out too many fires? Relying on random resources? Custom solving every problem that comes up? When you run into a roadblock, can you tell if it’s a college essay problem or something else?

And think about it carefully. Are you an editor? Or a coach? To learn more, check out this Pro Chat recording about Essay Reviews.


Kim Lifton is a MACAC Board Member and President and Co-founder of Wow Writing Workshop, which teaches students and educational professionals a simple, step-by-step process for writing effective college essays, so students can stand out and tell their stories. Kim leads a team of writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. Since 2009, Wow has been leading the college admissions industry with our unique approach to communicating messages effectively through application essays, including personal statements, activity and short answer essays and supplements.  We teach students – and we train professionals.

Coming Up 

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November       11/10/21         Manage student procrastination without stressing out

December       12/8/21           2021 wrap-up: Take a deep breath! What we can do at the end of the season, and what we need to let go of

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